Because they ingest more calories than they can burn, the main cause of obesity in dogs is usually the energy imbalance, since they accumulate a greater amount of fat. It is said that a dog is obese when its weight is at least 20% higher than adequate.
As in humans, the consequences of canine obesity range from respiratory difficulties to joint problems, through cardiovascular complications, diabetes, kidney problems and, in some cases, cancer.
Main causes of canine obesity
As the animals age, they lose their level of activity and muscle mass, thus reducing calorie burn. Therefore, age is one of the main causes of canine obesity. In addition, if the dog owns an elderly and sedentary person, it will influence the lifestyle of the pet.
Puppies, being growing and needing more calories than an adult, tend to be prone to obesity.
Sterilization or castration also often causes obesity in dogs. Due to the alteration of sex hormones after sterilization, the dog will gain weight with the same food intake as before sterilization. Therefore, a neutered dog should eat three quarters of what he ate previously.
There are foods that dogs should not consume, because they can cause poisoning or take time to process their components, among them are coffee, chocolate and avocado.
Like humans, animals are vulnerable to an unhealthy diet. Diets that include refined flours, trans fats, condiments, sugar and salt, greatly affect dogs, for this reason, we must try to offer a balanced diet, rich in fiber and protein to prevent obesity.
The frequency of meals is also a cause of overweight; leaving the dog a full bowl of food during the day means a mismatch in the animal’s body weight.
Many dogs suffer from anxiety, which leads them to eat compulsively during the day if they are left with food. What is recommended by veterinarians is to be served one or two servings a day, depending on age and race.
Diseases related to canine obesity
Diseases such as diabetes, hypothyroidism and joint problems such as osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia are related to obesity.
The breeds most prone to canine obesity are those that have a genetic predisposition to suffer it. They are related to the body proportion of lean mass that the animal possesses; Some are: the Cairn Terrier, Labrador Retriever, Beagle and Cocker.
When detecting that the dog is obese, it is best to take it to the veterinarian so that the specialist goes to the root of the problem and thus can offer a diagnosis that improves the quality of life of the pet.
Once the dog has regained its ideal weight, it is important to maintain the healthy routine that has advised the veterinary professional. Maintain the balance between exercise, so you do not develop stress or anxiety; and balanced food, so that it does not develop diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure, are key factors in keeping the pet healthy.